(via devinleighbee)Source: thesavoia.com
You remember back in biology class, where you probably got told that monarch butterflies eat the hell out of milkweed when they’re caterpillars, and consequently are poisonous, and that viceroy butterflies take advantage of this by looking like them? Like, “Oh, hey, let’s all dogpile on looking like the poisonous butterfly, guys, that way we won’t get eaten!”?
(This is called Batesian mimicry, by the way. It’s when an animal that can’t do a damn thing, like a rat snake, mimics an animal that can fuck your shit up, like a rattlesnake. Note to rat snakes: I don’t care how much you shake your tails, you’re not fooling anybody.)
Well, monarch butterflies do eat the hell out of milkweed when they’re caterpillars, and they are poisonous. But being poisonous isn’t exactly a hugely great strategy in the long term, because the things trying to eat you die or get super-sick instead of learning not to fuck with you. And then you’re dead, which blows.
Viceroys, it turns out, eat the hell out of willows when they’re caterpillars, and while they’re not strictly speaking poisonous, this makes them taste like absolute ass and upset the fuck out of predators’ stomachs. Willows, as you may or may not have learned in school, contain salicylic acid, aka aspirin. As you may or may not have learned by chewing up a cheap aspirin tablet or maybe just failing to swallow it fast enough, aspirin is just foul-tasting. 9 out of 10 other animals agree, and it takes viceroys straight off the menu unless they’ve got a wicked-bad headache. (Note: We have not actually caught any animals eating viceroys to take care of aches and pains. Yet.)
This means that viceroys may actually be the original model species, since they taste like hell and their predators live to learn that, unless they feel like spending the next three hours trying to wash that taste out of their mouths, eating the orange-and-black butterflies is a bad fucking idea. Because nobody fucks it up for everybody by being non-poisonous freeloaders, it’s considered Mullerian mimicry.
(Mullerian mimicry is where everyone who’s already dangerous gets together and decides on gang colors for better protection and less confusion among predators about who it’s a bad idea to fuck with.)
The super-awesome thing about viceroys and monarchs is that they remain mutual mimics along population breakdowns. Regions where the queen butterfly is more common than the standard monarch butterfly has viceroys that look more like queens. Mexico has soldier monarchs (that’s just what they’re called, they’re not actually battle-butterflies) that look way more like the Mexican viceroy population. It’s like, these butterflies are just really dedicated to their colors being the local sign for “Nope!”, okay?
lets talk about this fella here a moment
this baby is a ribbon eel, part of a group of fish called the moray eels. moray eels are basically hilarious because they are always fucking delighted (they can’t actually close their mouths so basically they’re grinning from ear to ear every moment of their lives).
wait i hear you say, if they can’t close their mouths how do they eat. pharyngeal jaws, my friend, pharyngeal jaws. don’t know what those are?
have you ever seen alien?
i shit you not, moray eels have a second set of teeth in the back of their throats that are spring loaded to jump out and grab things that swim into their mouths.
now if that wasn’t awesome enough, the ribbon eel is the only protandric moray. that means that although this little fella is clearly, by his colouring, a young adult male, give him a long enough lifespan and he’ll get bigger, turn yellow-brown, and become female.
that’s right, this is a species made entirely of young pretty men and powerful older women.
also if you put them into captivity they stop eating and die within about a month. the ribbon eel lives to be free~
EELS MAKE ME CRY BC THEY’RE BEAUTIFUL AND THEIR LIVES ARE BEAUTIFUL AND THIS ONE LOOKS LIKE A FRUIT BY THE FOOT
(via hellotailor)Source: whoagifs
“The Lions Mane Jellyfish is the largest jellyfish in the world. They have been swimming in arctic waters since before the dinosaurs (over 650 million years ago) and are among some of the oldest surviving species in the world. The largest can come in at about 6 meters and has tentacles over 50 meters long.”
LET ME LOVE YOU!
“Cyanea!” I cried. “Cyanea! Behold the Lion’s Mane!”
The strange object at which I pointed did indeed look like a tangled mass torn from the mane of a lion. It lay upon a rocky shelf some three feet under the water, a curious waving, vibrating, hairy creature with streaks of silver among its yellow tresses. It pulsated with a slow, heavy dilation and contraction.
“It has done mischief enough. Its day is over!” I cried. “Help me, Stackhurst! Let us end the murderer forever.”
There was a big boulder just above the ledge, and we pushed it until it fell with a tremendous splash into the water. When the ripples had cleared we saw that it had settled upon the ledge below. One flapping edge of yellow membrane showed that our victim was beneath it. A thick oily scum oozed out from below the stone and stained the water round, rising slowly to the surface.
-From “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane, in “The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes”
Makes one sort of wonder - how the hell did McPherson manage to miss THAT in the tidal pool? (A juvenile, perhaps?)
I’ve never wanted a rat until now. Source: sickbat
A Fancy rat is a domesticated version of the Brown rat. It is named a ‘fancy’ rat because the name derives from the idea of ‘animal fancy’ - to like or appreciate. They are bred with different shapes and psychology to wild rats, posing no more a health risk then any other domesticated pet.
Fancy rats are trainable and with the right technique you can train them to both do tricks and use a litter or toilet box.
There are a few variations of fancy rat, including the Manx, Dumbo and hairless rat.
Fancy rats - like all rats - do best with a companion and a big, open cage with plenty to do and chew on. They can eat many foods, though there are a few ‘no-no’ foods that should be looked up before considering getting pet rats.
Photos by Diane Özdamar
look how cute that first one is omg
just chillin out and looking all content on his big throne of grapes
what a happy little guy <3
OMG HORRIFYING VERMIN
I love how mad the last one looks. Like, she’s been doing CPR on this toy for five minutes and just figured out that you’re not hysterical, you’re laughing because it’s a trick.
Emperor penguins become first creatures to be counted from space
The first census of a entire species using satellite images reveals double the number of the birds, meaning the impact of climate change can be monitored far more accurately.
The new research, using very high resolution satellite images, has revealed almost double the number of Emperor penguins living in Antarctica - 595,000 birds - compared to the last survey in 1992
The work revealed seven previously unknown colonies and analysed 44 colonies in total. The study, conducted by scientists at the British Antarctic Survey and international colleagues, is published in the journal PloS ONE.
The science teams were able to differentiate between birds, ice, shadow and penguin guano (droppings) by using a digital technique called pan-sharpening. Scientists then used population counts on the ground and detailed aerial photography to calibrate the analysis of the satellite images.
Being able to assess the total number of birds from space is valuable because the penguins breed in remote and often inaccessible areas, with temperatures as low as -50°C, and so are very hard to study on the ground.